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SKATE program honors strong academics in New Richmond Youth Hockey Association

Students of Distinction, who earned a grade point average of 4.0 or higher, include (l-r) Ben Karno, Max Davis, Tommy Dorenbush, Eric Hedlund, Lauren Graham, Blake Kretovics, Jaden Manske, Chris Lubow, Derek Marrier, Elliot Smallidge, Brayden Cunningham, Ben Werner and Jack Davis. Not pictured is Stuart Pearson.

The hockey season is long and it demands a great deal of time and attention from the young skaters.

The New Richmond Youth Hockey Association wants to make sure that the hockey players maintain their commitment to academics while enjoying hockey. Last year, the NRYHA joined the SKATE (Skaters Keep Achieving Through Education) program. The program offers extra motivation for hockey players to be high achievers in their education.

SKATE was started in Minnesota in 1993-94. In 1997, it was adopted by Minnesota Hockey, the governing body for Minnesota youth hockey. Because New Richmond competes in Minnesota youth hockey leagues, it was allowed to join the SKATE program. There are 130 youth hockey associations that are part of the SKATE program.

High school boys assistant coach Ryan Unger has spearheaded the SKATE program in New Richmond. Last year, 92 players within the association were honored for having grade point averages of 3.0 or higher. This year, that number climbed to 107 student-athletes with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Unger said it is important to promote the significance of academic success in the younger hockey levels, so these students have an understanding of the importance of success in the classroom. Unger said there is a strong correlation between success in the classroom and success on the ice. He said the eight teams that reached the WIAA boys state hockey tournament had a combined 3.48 GPA.

“The hockey season is 165 days, that’s more than half the school year,” Unger said. “We want to promote more awareness and recognition of the student-athlete.”

Fourteen of the New Richmond athletes who were honored carried grade point averages of 4.0 or higher. Lauren Graham had the highest GPA among the girls in the association and Chris Lubow had the highest GPA among the boys in the association.

Here is a list of the student-athletes honored, by team.

Mites: Madeline Balduc, Matthew Unger, Zaylin Sweet, Loegan Aguirre, Charlotte Rae, Trent Dorenbush, Antonio AJ Kappos, Emily Berg, Benjamin Hahn, Carson Deal, Reece Hubmer, Chase Huber, Max Kretovics, Jameson Unger, Gage Fox, Hayden Balduc, Evan Dillow, Natalia Drill, Lorraine Taylor, Easton Schmit, Konrad Knutson, Ian Kralovetz, Austin Johnson, Alexandra Johnson, Reegan Saverine, Landon Hakes, Brody Iverson, Morgan Hansen, Rhoen Breen, Canton Langeness, Catcher Langeness and Ceagan Langeness.

Bantams: Jake Erickson, Chris Lubow, Dylan Marty, Cole Thomas, Payton Krumm, Blake Kretovics, Nicholas Johnson, Connor Iverson, Ryan Greer, Jakob Weninger, Jonny Buchman, Ben Karno, Mikah Kier, Noah Towberman, Taeus Drill, Max Davis, Spencer Ellspermann, Lucas Alm and Erin Langer.

U14: Catherine Magler, Cassandra Gravelle, Mykenzie Patten, Haley Herbert.

Squirts: Brayden Cunningham, Michael Benedict, Xavier Coolidge, Ryder Flatten, Blake Milton, Brock Unger, Sam Olson, Jack Davis, Tucker Erickson, Malaki Pethes, Jax Erickson, Thomas Smallidge, Charles Boe, Caden McDonald, Connor Dean, Derek Marrier and Gavin Stewart.

U10: Olivia Hansen and Taryn Dornseif.

U12: Margo Gauper, Shelby Herbert, Lauren Graham, Caitlyn Erickson, Abbie Alm, Sydney Hahn and Bailey Williams.

Western Wisconsin Stars: Bailey Erickson and Emma Lepper.

PeeWees: Tommy Dorenbush, Mason Erickson, Gavin Anderson, Ross Kittel, Jens Christensen, Garrett Thomas, Zach Cunningham, Jaden Manske, Evan Iverson, Brayden Carpenter, Payton Pohl, Jonas Drill, Frederic Riba and Gabe Melby.

High School Boys: Eric Hedlund, Elliot Smallidge, Cole Hansen, Austin Preece, Cole Peterson, Tanner Wisemiller, Ben Werner, Brandon Schaub, Ty Harsh McDonald, Brady Maus, Stuart Pearson and Jacob Singerhouse.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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